26.02.2018 | On February 25, a major earthquake (Mw 7.4) hit Papua New Guinea. Local authorities reported that ten people died but due to the severity, more casualties and heavy damage to infrastructure and buildings are to be expected.
The island of Papua New Guinea lies in the zone of the Pacific Ring of Fire named after volcanoes that are abundant around the Pacific Ocean. Around the Pacific, slabs of the Earth’s crust, so-called tectonic plates, are subducted (“swallowed”) causing many earthquakes and volcanism. The southern part of Papua New Guinea is located on the Australian Plate which drifts towards the Pacific Plate in a North-East motion with 11 centimeters per year. There are several smaller plates between these two major plates, amongst the most well-known are the Northern and the Southern Bismarck Plate and the Caroline Plate. The latter is sinking under the island beneath the North-Western coast of Papua New Guinea. This causes deep earthquakes. Other subduction zones lie West of Papua New Guinea. The plate tectonics and the active volcanism caused an uplift of the island forming the highest mountain range of Indonesia with summits up to 5029 meters.
The recent earthquake occurred at a depth of 25 kilometers. After shocks have occurred and should be expected in the following days. (jz)
The seismic network GEOFON, run by the GFZ, provides seismic data and rapid earthquake parameters. Besides GFZ several other partner institutions are part of the global network. Further information on the GEOFON program may be found at the GEOFON-Website
The quakes of the past 14 days (magnitude ≥ 4) are shown within the interactive earthquake map, the most current earthquake is circeled in red:
There are two scales used in earthquake research to classify the strength of an earthquake. These scales are often mixed up:
Some of the information and data presented on this website are preliminary and in part based on techniques still under development. The content of this website may change without notice as soon as more information are available.
Locations were obtained from the GFZ GEOFON programme using data from the GEVN partner networks. See http://geofon.gfz-potsdam.de/contact.php for additional details.